How do Beans grow?

How do Beans grow? This guide on growing beans is primarily focused on the Utah area.  All bean require full sun.  It's recommended to incorporate plenty of organic matter and a complete fertilizer into the soil before planting.  Plant beans when soils are above 60 degrees F.   The seeds should be one inch deep, spaced 2-3 inches apart, and rows 18-24 inches apart.  Beans need regular watering especially during flowering.  Lack of water will reduce yields and pod quality.  Mulching with organic material will help conserve water, control weeds, and supply extra nutrients to the bean plants.  Harvest immediately for fresh beans.  For dry beans wait until the pods are yellow and dry.

Garden Beans


Beans will grow in all soil types provided they are rich in organic matter, well drained, and fertile

Soil Preparation

Before planting, add 2-3 inches of compost or 1-2 inches of manure and a complete, or an all purpose fertilizer  (16-16-8).  Work compost and fertilizer into the top 6 inches of soil.


Beans are warm weather vegetables that require soil and air temperatures above 60 degrees F for germination and plant growth.  Start planting beans one week before the last frost-free date (approximately June-15th for Park City Utah) for your area.  Seedlings will emerge in 7-10 days when planted in soil that has warmed to 65-85 degrees F.

Recommended Varieties


Bush Beans Blue Lake Greencrop Gold Crop Kinghorn Wax Royal Burgundy Slenderette Strike Tendercrop
Pole Beans Blue Lake types Kentucky Wonder Romano
Dry Beans Kidney Great Northern Pinto Blackbean Blackeye Pea


Planting and Spacing

Plant seeds 1 inch deep. spaced 2-3 inches apart, in rows 18-24 inches wide.  No thinning is necessary if plant stands are too thick.  Plant bush beans every 14-21 days until mid-July for continuous production throughout the growing season.  Bush beans require 50-60 days to mature depending on variety.  Pole beans generally produce pods over a very long time period so one or two plantings are necessary each year.  Dry beans planted after July 1 generally will not mature in cooler areas of Utah but will produces mature seeds in warmer regions of Southern Utah.  Mulching the crop during the summer will reduce soil water loss and increase nutrient availability.


Most bean varieties are bush plants that do not need support during growth.  Pole beans are climbing types that flower over long time periods thus yielding more when trellised.  Trellises also make harvest easier.  Wooden poles or other fencing materials make ideal supports for beans.  Plants climb naturally so little additional work is required other than construction of the supports.


Beans require regular watering throughout growth for best production.  Soil moisture levels should be maintained near garden capacity. Do not overwater as wet soils promote root rot diseases and slow plant growth.  Water needs are most critical during flowering and pod sizing.  Drought stress during and after flowering will decrease yield due to flower abortion and reduce pod size and increase stringiness.  For dry beans, reduce water applications as the seeds begin to mature.  Watering amounts depend on soil type and organic matter content.


Beans do not require additional fertilizer if compost and manure or all purpose fertilizer was applied at planting.  Additional applications of nitrogen will over stimulate leaf growth, delay flowering and reduce pod set.  Most beans fix some nitrogen from the air via soil bacteria attached to plant roots.


Harvest and Storage

Bush and pole beans are harvested before the pods are fully mature.  Pods should be full size, with small seeds, and firm, crisp flesh when picked.  Pods are ready for harvest about 7-14 days after flowering.  Pick regularly as the plant will flower and mature the pods for 2-3 weeks on bush varieties and for 5-6 weeks on pole types.  Harvest and use immediately for best quality and flavor.  Refrigerate if not used immediately.  Dry beans are havested when the pods are fully mature and they are beginning to dry.  Pull up the plants and lay in a row in the garden for 5-7 days.  Once plants are dry, remove the pods, shell out the seeds and allow some additional time for the seeds to dry further.  For long term storage, keep in sealed containers in a cool dry place.